Wednesday, December 31, 2008


Wish all of my friends and family a great New Year... with much better things, good health and the will to make each day count...

I have read many New Year resolutions, and a greater percentage seems to be about weight loss!

Anyway, not to feel left out, I have made a few resolutions too...

  • To just focus on the joy of creating, and keep at my art and craft... and not to draw back because of any insecurities...(there are a few!)
  • To be a better housekeeper than I have been . I love decorating and designing rooms, but hate the cleaning part of it... it is not too bad, but I know  I could be better...!!
  • To learn to bake 

I know myself very well, so no lofty goals for me... This is something I can do on a bit-by-bit basis and make a difference. Anyway, I have already started on these in a small I just have to keep going.. 

Will let you know how I fare..

It's been an okay year as far as I am concerned, nothing  great, but nothing so bad either... though a lot of atrocities and bad news abounded all around us... 
Hope the news gets better next year...

Wish all of u a superb year to look forward to... 

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

My 100th Post!!!! - A tribute to fellow bloggers...

Wow!!! Already at my 100th post.. !!!!

I have a lot of things to post about, but I thought that this particular post should be dedicated to my fellow bloggers who have come to mean sooo much to me.

I started blogging after reading the blog of my college friend Arundati.. She is a great cook and makes the most lovely chocolates, and I am proud to count her as my friend.

 Cindy, who introduced me to Entrecard.., she is a high achiever, and she has a great blog..

I have to mention Raaga, whose blog I had been following for some time, and finally I found a few weeks back that she was living in my next building block!!! How wonderful is that?

The Muse and her blog have become an integral part of my life.. her words, her ability to invoke beauty in things, just inspire me every day.

And entrecard has brought a lot of lovely and talented people into my contact. Just to name a few, Nancy, Nicole, Hot Rocks, Jenn, 
Kat, rkdsign88 ..............................................................

This list could go on and on... 

Iam amazed at the kind of talent they have, and they all inspire me in one way or the other... 

Thank you for your wonderful blogs... 

Monday, December 29, 2008

Jaipur - Our onward journey

This was another successful trip in our books. We were actually planning the trip with some of our friends, but unfortunately, they couldn't make it. Jaipur is 250 kms from our place, and we had decided to make the journey by road, with my husband and our friend taking turns driving. 

We decided to go ahead since all arrangements were made. So we started off, and slowly, either side of the high-way had a lot of fields with yellow flowers... reminded us of some scenes in the hit hindi movie, Dilwale Dulhaniya Le Jayenge. Later, we figured that the fields were filled with yellow mustard flowers, which were one of the main crops of Punjab and Rajasthan.

Even the road-side restaurants had well-tended lawns and play areas. So the journey was not as tedious as expected. 

Other than a small hitch with our accomodation, our whole trip was an unforgettable experience.

Watch this space for more on our trip.. some of the places we visited were so great that they each deserve a post...!!! 

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Christmas tree ornament - Handmade from scratch!

I was sure that I wouldn't be posting any more till we came back from Jaipur, but i couldn't resist this... 

Since my daughter was not well the last week ,(Many thanks to all of you who wished her well) she hadn't been to her playschool..and I did not know that I was required to get her a gift worth Rs. 15 to 20, which would then be exchanged...

Now, to get something that would actually be a good gift is almost impossible.. and with kids, there should always be chocolates with the gift or a gift with the chocolates.. otherwise things do become disappointing... 

So finally I decided to make a tree ornament and buy some nice chocolates to add to the gift..

The whole thing was made in 2 hours.. I had to wait for the paint and the varnish to dry on each side, to paint the next layer..

The mould is the cap of Lays Stax... similar to Pringles chips..
I used a ceramic -like powder and glue to make the disk. Poked a hole with a pen refill.
Used acrylic black to paint the base. coated with varnish, painted Holly in red and green for that Christmasy feel.. higlighted with silver and looped some silver threads through the hole..
The thread ends were treated to a coat of clear nail polish to keep it from fraying..

When I finally rushed to my daughter's playschool, I was told they had pre-poned the celebrations and had already distributed the gifts... :(

Anyway, I am happy I made something and can develop on this idea.. 

So my friends, how do u like it?

Sunday, December 21, 2008


I will be off the blogosphere for a few days, since the Christmas holidays are near... have a trip planned to Jaipur... hope things go as planned...

Meanwhile, my blogging had already slowed down since my daughter has not been keeping well, and has been demanding my full attention...

My entrecard activities have also suffered due to please bear with me.. I will try to do full justice as soon as I get back...
So, MERRY CHRISTMAS everyone... hope Santa brings u great things...

Friday, December 12, 2008

Hearty fare - Mixed stew

It is getting cold ..and time when we crave hot food made with the minimum effort...

Chicken - 300 gms (approx) (boneless or not, cut into small pieces,according to choice)
Bacon - 30 gms (may substitute chicken sausages / luncheon meat etc..)
Onion - 1 meduin (peeled and chopped)
Garlic - 2 cloves (minced)
Green pepper (capsicum) - 1 (finely chopped)
Carrot - 1 (cleaned and cubed)
Tomatoes - 2 large (chopped into cubes)
Celery - 1 stalk
Bay leaves - 2
Pepper corns - 1 tsp (crushed)
Chicken stock - 1 cup
Black-eyed peas -1/2 cup (approx) soaked overnight or for half hour in hot water
Leek - 1 stalk (chopped fine)

In a pressure cooker, saute the onions till golden, add the bacon , then the leeks and the garlic,saute... then toss in the rest of the ingredients one by one . Close and pressure cook for 4 whistles.

Season with .....
Salt to taste, Soy sauce and some vinegar.

I did not add any potatoes, but those maybe included if needed.. however, the peas make a good substitute.
I just cooked some fragrant basmati rice, and while it was still hot, I added a 1/2 tsp ghee, salt, finely chopped celery leaves and coriander leaves, and sprinkle some crushed pepper and 1 tsp lemon juice. It was a very satisfying mix with the stew. Try it......

If you have found an improvement in my picture, it is all because of my dear friend who took the trouble to give me some pointers... Thanks A, ... I am working on it...

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Butterfly award - For the Coolest Blog Ever....!!!!!!!!!!

Wow... I have no idea whether my blog is the coolest ever, but coming from my talented friend, The Muse, that is a very high accolade indeed, for me. I display my award with pride... and I would surely have awarded this to Muse, had I received it first... her talent is are the rest of the people whose blogs I have chosen, to pass on this award..

In order to accept the award, the rules are as follows....

Put the logo on my blog
Add a link to the person who awarded me
Nominate outstanding blogs that I follow
Add links to those blogs
Leave a message to those nominees on their blog.

It is a bit difficult to choose from so many amazing blogs,
I would like to nominate many more, but these people are really special and talented...and I enjoy their blogs a lot..
Thanks to all of u for enriching my life..:)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Bear-y Special Meme

I got the invitation from Mariuca, to take part in this Beary special meme..

-START COPYING HERE- Once upon a time, in a land far, far away, there lived a powerful Genie Princess named Mariuca who was known throughout the land as the friendliest, most popular blogger in the blogosphere kingdom. Adored and admired by international visitors and commentators from around the world, the Genie Princess travels the blogosphere on her magical flying carpet, always looking for ways to share her good fortune with others.Over the past two years of blogging, Mariuca has met so many new people, from all walks of life and all over the world, each one bringing a little of their culture and lifestyle when they visit and comment on Mariuca’s two sites. So on her 2nd Blog Anniversary, Mariuca wanted to celebrate with all of her international blogosphere buddies by hosting a bear-naming contests at Wishing On A Falling Star and Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery and to pass her two lucky, cuddly teddy bears along to the winners who came up with the best names.On the opposite side of the world, from the moment Roxy (the prolific Roxiticus Desperate Housewives blogger) and her sweet daughters London and Maddie saw the teddy in his personalized t-shirt and blue muffler at Wishing On A Falling Star, they knew that he needed to come to live with their family in Mendham, NJ. The three New Jersey girls named him immediately and burst into a wonderful song for BEAR-iuca:

BEAR-iuca, BEAR-iuca, amazing teddy cheer.
BEAR-iuca, BEAR-iuca, we’d love you to come live here!

Mariuca received 16 possible names for the Mariuca Teddy Bear, making it hard for the Genie Princess to choose just one…then Alakazam! A bolt of lightning delivered the perfect way to share BEAR-iuca’s good fortune to bloggers around the globe. While the soft, stuffed, cuddly BEAR-iuca is on his way to live with Roxy, London, Maddie and Rex in the Roxiticus Valley, the Spirit of BEAR-iuca is racing through the blogosphere to bring happiness, holiday cheer, and beary best wishes to everyone who welcomes him into their online home and passes along the BEAR-iuca good luck charm to ten friends.Please play along with us by following a few important rules:1. Add your site(s) to the list once you have received the Spirit of BEAR-iuca badge of teddy bear cheer.2. Pass along the Spirit of BEAR-iuca and his cheery badge to as many people as you like.3. Leave a comment HERE once you’ve passed on the Spirit of BEAR-iuca.4. Once Roxy and the Genie Princess have visited your site to make sure your links are complete and proper, you will then be added to the Master List.4. To ensure everyone receives equal link benefit, please UPDATE your list regularly!BEAR-iuca LOVES

1. Mariuca 2. Roxiticus Desperate Housewives 3. Mariuca’s Perfume Gallery 4. Roxy’s Best Of... 5. Bay Head Blog 6. Roxiticus Best Blogs 7. Emila's Illustrated Blog 8. Metz - Empty Streets 9. The Spirit of Blogging 10. Speedcat Hollydale Page 11. Snapshot 12. purplefrogcat 13. Turn-u-Off 14. Simple Life 15. A Little Girl Talk 16. Life in the Lapadula House 17. Spicybugz World 18. The Mom With Brownies 19. Our High School Homeschool 20. Our Five Dangerous Boys 21. The Big Dog 22. LadyJava's Lounge 23. Moments of My Life 24. Life is too short to be ordinary 25. A Great Pleasure 26. Time Goes By 27. Life According To Me 28. Laketrees 29. This is a miracle 30. Porcelain Doll 31. Moms...CheckNyo 32. Wonderful Things In Life 33. Sweet Nothings 34. Hot Shit Form Here 35. Not Just a Mom Site 36. The Life of a Mom 37. Wiehanne Lounge 38. The Painted Veil 39. My Crossroads 40. Little Mermaid 41. LOVE's Haven 42. Also Mommy 43. The Journey 44. Comedy Plus 45. Making sense...(somehow) 46. The Modern Mom 47. Stay At Home Mom 48. Picture Clusters 49. Maiylah's Snippets 50. Sweety tots 51. My Discoveries 52. A Life to Remember 53. Rekha 54. Crissy's Haven 55. Crissy's Library 56. Crissy's Zone 57. Shopping Blog 58. Crafts and cooking 59. Asian Mutt International 60. A Simple Life 61. I AM KCAT 62. A Girl For All Status 63. Berry Blog 64. Carnation 65. Pinaymama's Diary 66. Life's sweets and spices 67. The Callalily Space 68. Butchay 69. Blessings in Life 70. Pinay Mommy Online 71. The Ruby Posts 72. Day Break 73. R...E...B...E...L?!? 74. VDAY CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY 75. Just the Tip of the Iceberg 76. Honeysweet Learning Center 77. Vsk8shop 78. A Diva's Hammer 79. YOU Next!

And since it is my turn to pass on the cuddles, here goes....

Arundati , Raaga , The Muse ,Jenn , rkdsign88 , LizzyT , Kristin, Robin , Anna and Nancy

All of the above are fellow bloggers, whose blogs bring me the warmth and happiness that hugs from a cuddly bear would.. So I pass on the love to them too...

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Awe-inspiring... Dilli Haat

Had a nice day out with my daughter, my friend and her son, to Dilli Haat. I had gone there once before, and enjoyed the lovely stalls full of beautiful hand-made stuff, proudly displayed in tempting arrays...

But this time the displays were even more better..the stalls had colourful canopies over them, the walkways had lovely artefacts lined on either side, which was a bit stressful for moms like us, with two mischievous imps..and to top everything, there was live entertainment ..dancing,drums etc..

We all had a very memorable time...especially our tiny tots..

Friday, December 5, 2008

Palak and Channa dal (Spinach and split bengal gram)

My hubby is no fan of spinach curry and I can never resist when I see fresh, beautiful spinach. So to keep us both happy I opted for a dry preparation. This is quite easy to make.

Channa dal/ Split bengal gram - 1 cup (washed)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Spinach - 1 big bunch (leaves washed one by one and finely chopped)
Grated coconut - 1 tbsp
Shallots (small red onions) - 3
Green chillies - 2
Jeera - 1/2 tsp
Garlic clove - 1

For tempering
Oil - 2 tsp
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2

Pressure cook the channa dal with turmeric powder(3 whistles). once the steam is off, just let the water evaporate.
Mince the grated coconut, green chillies, shallots and the garlic. I just pulse twice and they are done. Do not add water.

Now, in a wok, add oil and when hot, add the mustard seeds and red chillies. Add the Spinach , the cooked channa dal and the minced coconut. Cover and cook for 5 monutes or till the spinach wilts. Add salt to taste.

Enjoy hot.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Blog revamp

Hi, I have revamped one of my other blogs about prayers, myths and such.
have also changed the blog address. the new one is

Sunday, November 30, 2008

A great idea gone awry!

Winter is getting intense in our part of the world and our little bundle of joy is rebelling against the layers of garments that we make her wear. She hates socks and shoes and pulls them out within minutes of us putting them on her.

She loves to wear matching shoes when we go out, but home, it is a different matter. The moment we are inside our home, she sits down and pulls out her shoes and socks.

Since she is an ardent fan of Mickey mouse club, we shouted Eureka when we found very cute slippers with minnie mouse on them... we just knew that she would love to wear them, and no more worries about her tiny frozen feet!!!...

Well... we were right...and wrong!!!

She is never without the slippers at home, but instead of wearing them on her feet, she holds them close to her chest!!! ...After all, it is Minnie mouths ...

The picture is of her wearing them on her feet for the first time.

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Moutabel (Eggplant dip)

This is a lebanese preparation, which is predominantly served as a starter(Mezze), along with hot pita bread. Also called Babaghanoush.

When I visit my parents, I always remember to order a large salad platter from a Lebanese restaurant . The platter includes Hummus, moutabel, and a lot of other yummy treats.

Most of the recipies given on the web, call for a microwave, or an oven. But since my OTG (oven-toaster-grill)is taking a vacation, I decided to seek an alternate method to make this. My mom had successfully prepared this in the microwave.

Aubergine/eggplant/Brinjal - 1 fleshy large or 4 medium sized ones (approx 250 gms)
Garlic - 1 clove
Tahina - 1 tbsp (or according to choice)
Salt - to taste
Whole Pepper - 1/2 tsp
olive oil - 3-4 tsp atleast
Lemon juice - 1 tsp

Blister the eggplants on a flame to get the smoky taste. Make sure they are blistered all over, but not burned. If so, cut off the burned portions.
Steam the aubergines so that the flesh is cooked through.
Scoop out the flesh from the aubergines.
In a blender, add the garlic, pepper,salt, lemon juice,tahina and the eggplant flesh. Just pulse twice, remove to a bowl and add the olive oil. Mix well. It is okay if the constistency is not very smooth. Just adds interest to the texture.But, ensure that the taste is blended all over. In case you want it more smooth, break up the pieces with a fork.

Sprinkle a bit of paprika and serve in a bowl.

Sorry about the bad picture!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Aloo-methi - (Potatoes and fenugreek leaves)

I just grabbed a huge bunch of very fresh methi leaves as soon as I saw them. have very fond memories of my mom preparing the same. They were so fresh, that even the stalks were very tender. So I decided to chop the leaves along with the stalk and add it to the preparation.

Fenugreek/methi leaves - a bunch (finely cut )
Potatoes - 2 medium (peeled and cut into cubes)
Onion- 1 (cut into cubes)
Dried red chillies - 2
Chilly powder - 1/2 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Oil - 2 tsp (can use more or less according to choice)

Take the peeled and cubed potatoes into a thick bottom vessel, add some water (enough to level with the potatoes in it. Add the chilly powder and turmeric powder. Once the water boils, lower the flame to medium and let the potatoes cook through and the water almost disappears. (You may use a pressure cooker to cook the potatoes too)

Now, in a wok, heat oil. (I added some mustard seeds to temper)add the onions and the red chillies (can use chilli flakes for more heat , or can just crush the whole chillies too)Add the potatoes and stir to coat the oil. now put the methi leaves,add salt to taste, put the lid on and wait till the leaves change colour. Slowly mix till the leaves and potatoes are mixed. If so desired, the potatoes can be lightly fried with more oil before adding the methi leaves.

The aroma of methi leaves cooking is out of the world. Superb with just rice, curd and some tener mango pickles...Yum!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Problems with Paypal

Hi, Just wondering if any of you have had this problem.. I signed in for paypal, but have not been able to add any credit or debit cards.. did everything as per instructions, but have been asked to question the cardproblems department..but their response is either slow or no use.. feel as if I am sending my mail and getting responses from some pre-programmed machine.

Anyone encountered this problem?

And is there any other alternative for this ?

Really would love to know...

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Great, untried recipes - Tini's cookies

Don't you have a collection of recipes that you have not made yourself, but know that they yield great results? ....I have!

This is one such recipe. I have tasted many variations on these cookies made by a very special friend Tini. They were so good, that I pestered her till she gave me the recipe. The ones I had had nuts in them and yet another time, with chocolate chips. And she does make the most fabulous cakes too...

I am not even mentioning the other dishes she makes!!! Since I am scared to bake, (never had anything to report but disasters !), I am more in awe of her baking skills.

so this is the basic recipe, on which one can add other ingredients to make variations. She is a certified dietician, so she makes all this food with healthy ingredients too..

Flour - 200 gms
Sugar - 100 gms
refined oil - 120 ml
Baking powder - 5 gms

Mix everything together, roll the cookie dough into balls . Grease the tray and place the dough with even spaces between, to let them expand.
place in an oven at 130 degrees, and stay near it to make sure they don't burn!

I did not take down the time, it is done in a few minutes and my OTG anyway has nothing in common with Tini's oven...

Anyway, I will definitely try my hand at baking...a s soon as I gather a bit of confidence!!! :)

Monday, November 17, 2008

About Entrecard....

I have a system about the 'drops' I make on entrecard. that was because I saw that I could miss the people dropping in my blog. So I first went to the drops feed, dropped for all the blogs there each day, then dropped for the friend's feed, the blogs I follow and those that advertise on my was a good system and all together ranged invariably between 50 to 70 drops a day..

But today, just my droppers themselves numbered 91!!!! am amazed, surprised and thrilled . So I have been carefully returning the drops and am still not done, since I do take time to read the latest posts of most of the blogs and go through some of them thoroughly !

Love the comments more than the drops though...:)

Friday, November 14, 2008

Another masterpiece.......!!!!!!!!!!!!

Two days back, our daughter brought home worksheets from her playschool, that looked a bit too perfectly colored for a 2-year old. Still we did not want to doubt the achievements of our special miracle.

Finally I could not stand the suspense, and wanted to find out for myself. So I drew an outline of one of her favourites - Tweety, gave her some crayons and let her loose.. well the result speaks for itself doesn't it???

And she insisited I put it up since I frame and hang up my paintings!!! I do think in this instance, she does take after her aunt S !!!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

The Ninan Dip (mayo and curd)

This is a toot for a great creation that made so many meals memorable!

Made some kebabs with the leftover mince from the meatballs. We had bought some Kaboose (flat Lebanese bread).
Also had some nice pickles and relish that we had bought earlier, so all that was missing to make things complete, was our Ninan Dip.

This is a treat from our childhood days, bringing back lot of memories of great barbeques, picnics and dinners. Fried chicken, barbecued chicken, cutlets, fish-fingers, batter-fried prawns, everything tasted better with this dip. It was originally made by my dad's friend Ninan uncle, and everyone always called it Ninan's paste. But actually it is a little liquidy to be called a paste. And since we use it as a dip mainly, I decided to call it thus.

Mayonnaise - 1 cup
Curd - 1/2 cup
Red shallot - 2 (I used 1/4 of an onion)
Green chilly - 2 nos.
Coriander leaves - one bunch
Salt to taste

Put everything in the blender and pulse twice.
Sprinkle a bit of crushed pepper.

I just placed the kebab on Kaboose, added some finely sliced tomatoes and peppers, relish, pickles, and a liberal dose of the dip.....ummmm heavenly...It is something to toot about indeed...

Monday, November 10, 2008

A very eventful weekend...

It was a very busy weekend for us..

Took our daughter to the Delhi Zoo with our friends and neighbors. Came back, went shopping, then dinner at a friend's place some 10 Kms away ..we had slight trouble finding the way, there raided my friend's library, brought back a bunch of books, and had a lovely time meeting some new folks.

Reached back after 1 am.!!!

Sunday we got up late, had lunch and then went to watch Quantum of Solace..enjoyed it a lot. Picked up a pizza and came back home.

Slightly hectic, but nice.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Mutton Meat balls (snack)

The meatballs were so fragrant and melt-in the mouth, that they could be eaten just fried, with a dip.

Minced mutton - 300 gms
Bread crumbs - 1/2 cup
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Dried oregano - 1/4 tsp

Heat a small wok / kadai and add

Oil - 1 tsp

Now saute
Onion - 1 small(chopped very very fine)
Garlic - 2 cloves (finely chopped)
Green chilly - 1 (finely chopped)
Celery - 1 stalk (chopped fine - may include leaves too, if fresh)

Add the sauted onions etc to the minced meat.
Add about 1 tbsp of grated cheddar (I used a cheddar-mozzarella mix)

Mix well, add salt to taste and roll into small lemon-sized balls.

I made spaghetti and meatballs, though it would be a stretch calling them balls since my daughter was a bit cranky and i rolled the balls with just one hand, while carrying her!!!

OOPS!!! I did forget to mention this and hadn't noticed it till my mom mentioned this.. shallow fry the balls. The outsides are crisp and the insides are tender and melt-in-your mouth.
And I did keep aside some of the meat mixture to make into Kebabs for another day...

Ever felt this way?????

I was just browsing and I turned to talk to my daughter... all of a sudden, my heart sank to my toes and I suffered a very severe pang of anxiety ...she was not standing on her favourite chair, looking out through the windows...

Then my world righted itself... when I realised that she is at her playschool and it would be another hour before she comes back home... I'm having a bit of a hard time getting adjusted to her being away at school.

It is nothing like the exam tensions, or anxiety before interviews or any other fear that I encountered before... The world just turns a bleak place when I don't find her , and then everything is all right as soon as I remember where she is..!!!

But those few seconds before sanity returns, is just excruciating!!!!Gosh it's hard letting go...

Thursday, November 6, 2008

When monkeys come visiting...

There are four monkeys who keep visiting the our flats and those in the vicinity... we reached Gurgaon almost one year back , but we have been aware of the monkey problem only the past couple of months...

Whenever they appear on the scene, the security personnel in our buildings will announce it over the speakers and then it is a scramble to close all the doors and windows.

The monkeys get into any building..they are not scared of the people and if anyone has been unfortunate enough to leave the windows or doors unlocked, then they are sure to find a lot of damage including the glass of the televisions. We are told that the monkeys break the television sets fairly often, not to mention opening fridges and destroying evrything they get their paws on... still they are just shooed away since they are sacred animals...

I am all for respecting the religious sentements..but I hope that no one comes to grief over the tolerance, especially since there are so many small babies and toddlers in majority of the flats...

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Comfort food - Chicken and veggies

There are some days when thinking up a dish is very tedious.Even more so when the cooking has to be done with a bit of care. So if there is some kind of bread readily available, this is one meal that needs very little preparation.

Chicken breasts - 500 gms (cleaned and cut into medium pieces)

Marinate the chicken pieces in
Curd - 2 tsp
Red chilli powder - 1 tsp
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Salt to taste

Keep the chicken in the fridge for atleast a half-hour.


Onion - 1 large (sliced lengthwise)
Green chillies - 2 (slit)

Toss in some veggies like french beans, potatoes, carrots, green peas ,capsicum etc.. lightly fry them.

Add the chicken and the marinade .

Now add 2 sliced tomatoes to this. Once the liquid starts bubbling, lower the flame to medium and cook with the lid on. Once the chicken is cooked, add

Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Pepper powder - according to taste (I like a lot of coarsely ground pepper)
A pinch or dried oregano (optional)

More salt if needed.

Enjoy hot with Kaboos, porottas, chappatis etc.

Thursday, October 30, 2008

A trip to Mussoorie

Am back after a trip from Mussoorie, a lovely hill-station. The views, both man-made, and what nature has endowed are so breath-taking, it is really difficult to get enough...

The nicest thing about the holiday was the slow pace..we explored each part of the tiny place by ourself... no guides, no organised trips..just the three of us, asking our way around, and making sure we did not tire ourselves.. the end-result, we enjoyed each moment and came back, a bit reluctant to leave, yet happy to be back...
Just that perfect break..
I will let the pictures speak for themselves ..

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Brinja masala

Brinjals/ baingans/ aubergines,are my husband's second favourite vegetable. I like it coz it is easy to cut and the cooking can be over in a matter of minutes, depending on the kind of dish. This is a slightly elaborate preparation and is amazing with rotis, chappatis or rice and curd for company.

Please assemble all ingredients before-hand to avoid mishaps.

Medium sized brinjals - 500 gms (slit lenghtwise, thickness 1/2 inch)

Soak in turmeric water, drain and add salt to taste. Shallow fry with as little oil as possible, till half cooked. Keep aside.

In the same pan that u fried the brinjal, add

Oil - 2 tbsp

When hot, add

Cumin/ jeera - 1/2 tsp
once jeera is fried, add

Onion - 1 ( sliced fine lengthwise)
green chillies - 2 (slit)
Curry leaves - 1 stalk

fry till onions are golden brown.

Make a thick paste with water and

red chilli powder - 1 tsp
turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
coriander powder - 1 tbsp
garam masala powder - 1 tsp

Fry well till the oil is seen.

Now, blanch, peel and grind

Tomatoes - 3 medium sized (or about 1/2 cup of ready made tomato puree)

add the tomato puree till it is thickened and the oil is seen. Now add the fried brinjals, coat well with the masala, put on a lid and cook well till done.

Garnish with chopped coriander leaves (cilantro) and serve.

Friday, October 24, 2008

View from my kitchen window - # 3

The advent of Diwali, or Deepavali which means (deepa - light, vali - array) the array of lights. This is symbolic of Rama, the epitom of Goodness vanquishing the darkness spread by the evil Ravana....

The buildings all around have been festooned with beautiful lights . It certainly does make cooking in my kitchen a great experience..

My baby girl just loves to watch the winking lights and keeps clapping her hands when they light up and then go out. The lights do gladden hearts and makes us feel considerably 'light'er in spirits.

Friday, October 17, 2008

Experimenting with 3D - murals(mixed media)

Finally!!! I got a piece done...

Beginning with getting all the things together, the wood, the glue, the powder that goes into the mold, it was a search that stretched over three weekends in harware shops, art shops etc etc. Then with our baby's start at the playschool, things got delayed further.

So armed with my scribbled notes from an unforgettable meeting with a great artist, and a prayer, I set to work... As I am wont to do, I started with a Ganesha since His form can be made as simple or as complicated as one wants.

I did use the mold for drawing in the Ganesha too, just to find out how versatile it can be. As is clear, I need more practise mixing up the mold since there are a few unnecessary lumps and a few places where the mix has sagged...And the paint is acrylic.

But for a first effort , am not too sorry... :)

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Muringakka , parippu thoran (Drumstick n dal)

Our mom used to make a lot of dishes with drumstick fairly often since we had a drumstick tree in our home. This was a favourite with all of us. Mom also used to make a exquisitely tasty things with the flowers from drumstick tree as well as the leaves.

Drumsticks - 2 (choose fleshy ones)
Thur dal - 1 cup
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Chilli powder - 1 tsp
Cook the thur dal with water over 1/2 an inch over it's level. when the dal is half-cooked, add the drum sticks till everything is cooked through , add salt to taste and make sure the water is nearly gone.
Coarsely grind
Grated coconut - 1/2 cup
Garlic cloves - 2 nos
green chillies - 2 nos
Add the ground coconut to the cooked drumstick and dal.
In a deep pan, heat 2 tsp oil , temper with
Mustard seeds - 1 tsp (I prefer a bit less)
Raw rice grains - 1 tsp
Dried red chillies - 2
Curry leaves - 2 stems
mix well and serve hot.

Featured in the Blogging Women's directory

Just wanted to let everyone know that my blog has been added to the Blogging Women's directory. Check it out..there are a lot of interesting blogs out there.

Thursday, October 9, 2008

Vidyarambham - Another milestone for my baby

It is Vidyaarambham today... Vidya means knowledge and arambham is the start. Ideally, it is done at our family temple. A lot of learned persons in the community accept Dakshina - a small fee, given in pan leaf with betel nut, facing the east. Then the child who is starting her/his learning is taken on the teacher's lap and first they write with a gold ring on the child's tongue . After that the same thing is written in raw rice in a plate or in the sand.

The mantra that is written is
Aum, Hari Sree Ganapathaye Namaha,
Later all people gathered in the temple are given prasadom, mostle payasam, panchaamritham and the nivedyam made of cocnut, jaggery, aval and malar (beaten rice, puffed rice)...
The rest of the children who already go to school would have kept their books for Saraswathy puja the evening two days earlier and would get them back. Then all would sit down facing the east and again refresh their alphabets by writing on rice or in the sand.

Being away from home, we had to do the deed ourselves... both my husband and I took turns and helped write our daughter's first letters....with prayers that she finds process of learning a joyful experience...

Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Mushroom rice - Pressure cooked

This is a very easy dish to make.
Mushrooms - about 300 gms (cleaned and cut length-wise)
Onion - 1 (sliced fine)
Tomatoes - 2 medium (sliced fine)
Green chillies - 3 (slit)
Turmeric powder - 1/2 tsp
Red chilly powder - 1 tsp
Coriander powder - 1 tsp
Ginger garlic paste - 1 tsp
Rice - 1 cup (clean and soak for 1/2 hour then drain)
Capsicum - 1 ( cut into small pieces)
Garam masala powder - 1 tsp
Chicken stock cube/ liquid (optional) - 1 cube or 1/2 cup liquid.

In a pressure cooker add about 1 tbsp oil (can add a bit of ghee and less oil too) saute onions till golden, add the ginger garlic paste, when fried, add the slit green chillies and the turmeric, chilly and coriander powder after mixing into a thick paste with a bit of water. fry well. When the oil comes out, add the tomatoes , wait till the tomatoes soften and then add the mushrooms and capsicum. Coat the masala well, add the garam masala powder and the rice, then add the chicken stock powder.
Finally add 2 cups of water (if adding liquid stock, please adjust accordingly), put the lid on and pressure cook for 3 whistles.
Canned mushrooms will do too, but may not taste as good..

Thursday, September 25, 2008

My baby's first day at Playschool

That day is already here !!! Somehow I thought that I would have a lot of time before I had to let my baby have a life out of my sphere.... But since she was getting bored with just my company, I realised that it was not fair to keep her home simply for my selfish pleasure...

So after a lot of research, visits to schools, a lot of leg-dragging on my part,we decided on a school. And even then, we did delay the process by another 2 months. I was finally given the ultimatum by the teacher to let her start without delay when I went to pay her fees yesterday.

A sleepless night later, we left her at the school door, with two smiling teachers holding her hands (by the way, the school is just 4 floors up from our flat). She looked a bit upset when we were asked to leave... So I just paced the floor,back home, went back before the 1 hour was up before I could collect her and paced some more outside.

I got back a smiling child who was jumping up and down, singing 'Twinkle twinkle little star' in her pigdin english and generally in great spirits. All that changed when we reached our door.... she started yelling and digging her feet in, refusing to enter out home.. I had to carry her in and she kept running to the door to go out..she wanted to go back to school..!

Okay... I know the attraction..lots of friends, singing, dancing... and what's at home????...Boring ole' mom!!!

Hey!!.. she did smother me in kisses after she got up from her mid-day sleep, right after checking if her school bag was still hanging on the wall-peg!!! She does have her priorities right :) sweet babe.

Monday, September 22, 2008

Added a new Widget...Followers

I just added a new widget..Followers... have positioned it at the upper right hand corner of the side-bar. Thought I would see if I'd have any followers on my blog . It was very easy to install with the easy directions given on Blogger.

Wish me luck!!!!!

Friday, September 19, 2008

A long-awaited visit - A treat for the senses...

I have always been interested in art, and have tried my hand at various types of paintings and mediums,like charcoal stumping, glass painting, oils, watercolours, Rosemailing and though I thoroughly enjoyed them all, and would still keep doing them all occasionally, I did find a certain limit to the thrill it gave me...

....Until I happened to see the work Sangeeta. I am absolutely greatful to Jigyasa and Pratibha for mentioning her work to me...

She has a beautiful shop called Swakrith and after seeing her blog, my only aim was to meet her and see her work in person...

My plans were almost upset with a bad bout of fever, but I did finally manage to make time and make it to her shop, with the cooperation of my husband and his sister!

Sangeeta was a surprise..for such a talented artist, she is so soft-spoken and unassuming, it is amazing. And I felt that we connected instantly... The delightful moments I spent in her company will always remain with me...

Swakrith was all that I had hoped for, and more... the murals displayed in her blog are just a tip of the Iceberg... and when I asked her why she had not done more to post her work, she told me that too many copies were being made from what she displayed... it's a shame that people who take pains to learn an art would just copy work when they can be inspired from them and create something original...even if it would fall short of an experienced artisit's work, atleast they would have the satisfaction of having created something truly thier own.....

I was actually scared to go round the shop too many times coz I was so impressed with Sangeeta and her work, I could have remained there for hours... So I just brought back a souvenir to keep inspiring me... it was one of the simplest pieces there, but still I loved the colour combinations, the texture ...sigh, everything.

Her work gave me a sense of recognition ... as if I had been waiting to see exactly this type of work to give me that added dimension and pleasure......

My hearfelt thanks to Jigyasa and Pratibha for being instrumental in this...

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Cheera Thoran - (Red spinach with coconut)

I got my hand on an amazingly fresh bunch of Red Spinach..hadn't seen any like that in a while... Just grabbed them....

The worst thing about store bought leaves, (as opposed to home-grown, and we have had that in plenty!) is that sometimes no amount of rinsing can get rid of the DDT..when u finish soaking the leaves,pick them leaf by leaf and the slice them finely, and finally cook it and lo and behold, instead of the amazing aroma of cooked spinach, u smell the awful powder used to kill ants !!!

But this time the whole bunch was perfect.........

Clean the spinach as much as possible in lots of water...
Drain well. Towel dry if needed(especially if the leaves are limp.)
Cut very thinly, stalk and leaves.

Grind coarsely
Coconut - 1/4th of one ( scrapped )
Green chillies - 2
Small onions - 3
Jeera/ Cumin - 1/4 tsp

To the cut spinach, add the ground coconut, 1/4 tsp turmeric, 1/2 tsp red chilli powder and mix well.

Heat oil in a kadai, splutter mustard seeds, curry leaves and add the spinach. Keep a lid and steam the spinach for 5 minutes or until they are evenly steamed. Slowly stir to ensure even cooking and turn off the heat.

Great combination with rice, curd, pappad n pickles....And I could just eat it by itself too!

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

Gothambu (cracked wheat) paayasam

Gothambu paayasam has always been a favourite in our family. Infact at my dad's ancestral home whenever anyone had a birthday, this was the paayasam of choice and I am sure no one would have thought to complain even if it were made on a fairly regular basis....

Ohhh...sooo many great memories......

If one manages to procure the cracked wheat without much difficulty, then it is really easy to make. Otherwise, it could become a laborious process.

In the south, we call the gothambu (wheat)as gothambu nurukku ...or broken wheat. In the north (India), it is available as Daliya, and comes already roasted...which is a blessing when u make this with a clinging child who is cranky due to cold!!!

Incidentally, this is the same thing that is known as 'Couscous ' in Moroccan cuisine.

Gothambu nurukku/ Daliya/couscous - 2 cups

If you have not managed to get the pre-roasted Daliya, you have to sort the good grains and then evenly roast the nurukku. One side will turn brown while the other will stay a bit white.

Make sure that you boil the grains in a very spacious vessel. Else they will just stick together when cooked.

Water - 5 cups water.

Boil the cracked wheat and as it comes to a boil, put off the fire and stir well. Now keep a lid on it. At intervals please keep stirring to separate the grains. there shoild not be much water left as the grains absorb water and get cooked.

Jaggery - 1/2 kilo.

In one glass water boil the jaggery to make a pani. then sieve the liquid jaggery to get rid of the impurities. Keep it boiling and add the cooked cracked wheat.

Cardamom - 4 nos (powdered)

Coconut milk - 1 cup 1st extract(very thick ) and 2 cups 2nd extract

Add the powdered cardamom and 2nd extract of coconut milk . Bring to a boil. Now add the 1st extract. Make sure that this time the paayasam does not boil. Switch off the stove.

Ghee - 1 tsp
Cashew nuts

Heat ghee and fry the cashews and raisins and add to the paayasam.

Note: You may fry the cracked wheat in ghee or dry-roast them... the way I described used minimum amount of ghee and is just as tasty.

Monday, September 15, 2008


A small sadya with few items...

Somehow without atleast 4 people to sit down to have it, an Onasadya loses something. however great it tastes. We celebrated yet again this weekend at my cousin's and food tasted infinitely better...

Ofcourse he had also managed to get some banana leaves to serve the feast on..

Friday, September 12, 2008

It is ONAM

A very HAPPY ONAM to all keralites and everyone else who would love to join this special festival...

This is going to be yet another short post since I have an ONASADYA (feast) to prepare...Details later...

Anyway, with my folks still in Kerala, with loads of relatives and having a grand Onam, am feeling a bit homesick and nostalgic about the good old days when each home seemed to be bursting at the seams with people...

The best thing I like about kerala is it's lushness and greenary, though it has reduced considerably in the last decade.. Whenever we were back from a vacation, the first thing to indicate that we were back in Kerala would be the glimpse of coconut palms and green fields, and however sad u felt that vacation was over, that sight would never fail to sooth..

And here is a picture from this trip to illustrate that point...great..isn't it?

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Almost back..........

I went with a lot of plans, but as the saying goes about the best laid plans, I was laid low with fever and the worst thing is to be out of home when convalescent. Aleast there would have been no one to see my misery.....

On the other hand, God knew best coz my hubby could not have managed my baby and work together..this way, he had help from my sis-in-law and later, my mom. I was sooo out of it, it was awful...especially when you have a baby depending on you, illness is all the more worse...

It was just a fever, but debilating enough to make one feel awfully mortal...

Despite all this, I have some good news too.....anyone interested, watch this space... Am not ready to share it as yet...!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Sunday, August 17, 2008

A few lazy days....

I am going to my hometown in a few days and the shopping, making umpteen number of lists, preparations for packing, packing itself, and hefty doses of day-dreaming does not help blogging any..

To slow things further, I have recently made a bunch of good friends..the process of discovery is sooo amazing..just finding the common grounds between people, getting to know them, settling into a comfortable routine and then sustaining the relationships... I am a bit sad I found them as I am about to be absent from their company, on the other hand, I know that when I come back, i will have their company to look forward to, and not miss my family so much...

And my baby girl is also finding all this activity thrilling and is reacting to everything with enthusiasm....

Looking forward to re-visiting a lot of landmarks in my life..and seeing all those dear faces too.... hopefully, with a lot of frames frozen this time round..I have the most lovely memories, but the snapshots are in my mind..hopefully I can collect a few tangible ones this time to take out and show my daughter when she is more able to comprehend them..

Hope I'd be able to keep u posted once in a while..but even otherwise, I promise to collect a lot of material to keep this blog going for some time.........

Friday, August 1, 2008

Buddha - Acrylic on canvas

This is the first I am attempting to paint Buddha. Now that I have done one, I think I will do more..Like Ganesha, there are infinite possibilities with the form of Buddha too...

This one has been done with Acrylic on a canvas that I bought ready-made and stretched on the frame. Actually this frame was picked up by my brother for one of his experiments..but when I packed my bags to leave Doha, he tossed it in with my luggage...Thanks bro...

By the way, August is a month I like a lot... both my siblings are leos who celebate their birthdays within 3 days of each other..and to add to that my favourite nephew too celebrates his birthday this month..and THIS month this year, I will be having get-together with my the count-down has begun for me..
And I really intend to enjoy myself and also to gather a lot of inspiration for my blog....